Tourism spending soars in Qld regions, but crisis still shadows sector

Domestic tourism in Queensland has shown a remarkable resilience with data showing expenditure rose 76 per cent in July compared with only 20 per cent nationally.

Oct 08, 2021, updated Oct 08, 2021
The top areas in Australia for internal migration were the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast. Wide Bay and Ipswich were also in the top 10

The top areas in Australia for internal migration were the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast. Wide Bay and Ipswich were also in the top 10

The data from Tourism Research Australia showed that in Brisbane and the Gold Coast tourism spending rose 27 per cent and 100 per cent in the regions.

“Clearly Queenslanders are still travelling, and spending, within Queensland,’’ Conus Consultancy economist Pete Faulkner said.

“When we consider the data for the past 12 months we see total expenditure across the nation was up just 5 per cent since the same time in 2020. Queensland registered a 18 per cent increase from a 34 per cent jump in the regions and Brisbane and the Gold Coast down 1 per cent.’’

However, a separate survey from the Tourism and Transport Forum found that one in three tourism businesses were facing extinction within the next three months.

TTF said the tourism industry continued to face the constant cloud of domestic and international border uncertainty hanging over its head.

The national survey of over 500 businesses showed 41% per cent of tourism-exposed businesses felt business will get worse over the next three months, while 29 per cent believed their outlook was bleak for at least the next 12 months.

Of those surveyed, 70 per cent were exploring other activities or revenue streams, considering reducing staff hours (69 per cent) or scaling down their operations (62 per cent) over next three months. 

About 20 per cent planned to take even more drastic action and shut their doors while another 10 per cent would sell up.

TTF chief executive Margy Osmond said tourism businesses had made it clear that as other sectors recovered, they foresaw a challenging period ahead not only in the short term but for the next year or more.

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“It’s not like we are expecting an ‘Open Sesame’ moment where everything returns to normal and travel hesitancy will linger for both the leisure and corporate travel markets as long as Australians feel they are at the mercy of policymakers playing border ‘roulette’ and while quarantine requirements remain in place,’’ Osmond said..

“In the long term, there is a real fear that major and high yield inbound markets outside of the US and UK, such as Asia and parts of Europe, will remain directly shut off to Australia for some time, until they are deemed as safe countries by the Federal Government and quarantine free travel opens up for double vaccinated tourists.

“Many internationally reliant tourism operations in places like Cairns and Uluru, in tourism growth states like South Australia and Tasmania and in the struggling CBDs of Melbourne and Sydney will simply be unable to pivot their products and offerings to save their businesses and will need further Government support.

“It will take a combination of concerted and strategic international engagement and investment by State and Federal Governments to reattract key aviation routes while at the same time providing targeted financial support for internationally reliant tourism operators so that they can stay afloat during this time.

“TTF will continue to raise this issue as a priority with governments so that tourism does not become the collateral damage of the Australian economy in the wake of the post COVID economic recovery.”


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